It's About Chime
Chime is being phased out.
Its development largely ceased in 1998 (see
MDL has refused to open Chime's source code, thereby precluding
further development by the community of biochemists who use it.
New work that displays rotatable, interactive molecular views in
web browsers is being done largely with the
Jmol java applet
(See examples here).
Jmol is an
open source project, and
has been very actively developed in recent years (through 2007).
Most of the Chime/RasMol command language has been implemented in Jmol.
Jmol is now considerably more powerful than Chime, and, being a java applet, needs no installation, and works
as well in Mac OSX (Safari) or Linux (Firefox) as it does on MS Windows
(Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox).
MDL Chime (or simply "Chime" for short) is a free program to show molecular structure in three dimensions. Its images look like RasMol's because Chime is derived, in part, from RasMol. MDL Chime differs from RasMol in that Chime sits directly on a web page (runs inside your browser as a plug-in), whereas RasMol is a stand-alone program (runs outside your browser, independently). MDL Chime also differs in that most Chime-employing websites show only the molecule(s) provided by the author of the web page you view, whereas RasMol can show any molecule for which you have an atomic coordinate (PDB) file. However, some Chime websites also provide support for showing any molecule of interest, and doing self-directed exploration similar to RasMol, notably Protein Explorer.
MDL Chime's ability to support educational resources has had a large impact on stuctural biochemistry education, as exemplified by the many excellent resources indexed in the World Index of Molecular Visualization Resources.
MDL Chime can be downloaded free from the web site of its corporate creators, MDL. See MDL Chime: Browsers, Platforms, Installation, Troubleshooting. MolViz.Org illustrates what MDL Chime is cabable of, and provides help for developing tutorials and presentations employing MDL Chime. An ongoing discussion of technical issues about Chime may be seen in the history of the RasMol email list.
Chime (more completely referred to as MDL Chime) was developed largely by Tim Maffett and Bryan van Vliet (while at MDL). Chime incorporates the command processer and rendering engine from RasMol, whose source code was put into the public domain by its author, Roger Sayle. Maffett and van Vliet had the foresight to leave the entire RasMol command processor in Chime, which explains much of its power and popularity with biochemists. (Only RasMol's "save" commands were disabled in Chime. These write files to your disk under the control of command scripts, which can come from websites, posing a security risk. However, Chime's menu can save the currently displayed PDB file to your disk.)
Complete history of Chime versions.
There are several ways to approach creating a Chime tutorial. Some require little or no technical or programming skills, and others are more demanding. Here are links to several different resources.
Reference Manuals: No single manual documents the entire set of Chime commands. Instead, Chime commands are documented in two parts:
- The RasMol 2.6 Command Language Reference Manual contains all the RasMol 2.6 commands. All were incorporated into Chime except the "Save" commands, which would have presented a security risk in a browser. This manual does not include the Chime-specific commands, which are documented in the manual immediately below.
- The MDL Chime Command Reference Manual contains the rest of the Chime commands. This manual does not include the extensive command set Chime shares with RasMol, which is documented in the manual immediately above. If the above link doesn't work (MDL has changed their website often), go to mdl.com and look for Support, then Developer Support, then Chime.
Additional information about Chime commands:
- Select Commands in RasMol and Chime
- RasMol/Chime Color RGB Values
- Bonds in RasMol/Chime including
- What are the values used by RasMol and Chime for van der Waals radii in the spacefill rendering?
- How do RasMol and Chime determine which atoms in a PDB file are covalently bonded?
- How can arbitrary bonds be added or hidden?
- Why don't RasMol or Chime show most of the hydrogen bonds?
- Chime Embed Tag Parameters from MDL.Chime is invoked with an HTML embed tag. The embed tag contains parameters that may specify the molecule to be loaded, the initial rendering and color scheme, and other Chime behaviors. Some behaviors of Chime can be controlled only by embed tag parameters. Examples include "debugscript" mode, and "menudelay".
- Other Chime support documents and tutorials may be found at MDL Chime Developer Support
Back to Molecular Visualization Resources (MolviZ.Org)
Feedback to Eric Martz.